It is estimated that infertility affects one in seven couples in the UK at some stage in their reproductive life. After over 30 years of experience, in vitro fertilisation (IVF) is now routine medical practice in the management of infertility, and births following IVF are estimated to account for over 1% of all births in the UK. This proportion is notably lower than some European countries, reflecting the different policies of public funding for this procedure. This paper summarises the growing body of evidence concerning the outcomes of pregnancy, delivery and early childhood associated with being conceived by IVF and related procedures. For these purposes this review will include data relating to IVF and associated procedures such as intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), blastocyst culture, assisted hatching and genetic diagnosis but will not cover gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT) or ovulation induction alone or with artificial insemination. Unless specifically stated, the term IVF is used to encompass IVF and any laboratory procedure associated with IVF.
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